Saturday, February 23, 2008
One long day - first post of the Brochure Saga
I finally got my Japan visa, and I got it in the afternoon of the last working day before my flight! I was so worried about it yesterday that I catch myself literally holding my breath every so often.
And when I saw that everything was in order (my name, gender, passport details, among other things), I was finally able to breathe properly. As I walked back to my work area, I think of how I'll fit my laptop and my camera on in my hand carry.
Two minutes later, I check my email and hyperventilate. The chairman of our practice group wants 300 copies of our Asia-Pacific brochure by Wednesday morning next week. The brochure doesn't even exist! It consists of a flyer and a contact card. I email both to our Manila-based global marketing department and beg them into completing the request in an hour. In the meantime, I communicate with Mr. Chairman trough email:
Me: I'm having the brochure formatted but even if we finish the formatting today, I doubt if we have time to print the brochures and ship them to Tokyo in time - the Hong Kong and Manila printers require 3 working days, the ones from Sydney require 2
Mr. Chairman: find one in Tokyo.
At 5 PM Tokyo time on a freaking Friday! I email the marketing department at our Hong Kong office and they efficiently email me the contact details of their printer. The Tokyo printer does not reply to my email nor answer my call. I decide to print in Manila.
I send out a desperate email to all my e-groups. While waiting for a reply, I give large printing companies a ring. They're either too busy to take the job or they charge an exhorbitant amount and insist on being paid in cash or through company check. At 6 PM, I talk to our auditor, explain my situation and ask for a company check. I take 2 check signatories hostage while the auditor starts the process of releasing the check. One of the signatories insists on leaving early (she has a karaoke party to attend) and gives me cash instead (I love her!). I call up one of the printers and email the printable pdf file. They apologize and say that the cost is actually double than what they originally quoted. Half of my hair falls out. I hear choking sounds and realize that I'm making them.
I dream of strangling the marketing person in charge of Asia-Pacific. Producing brochures is her job. Except that she said she was busy and said no. The chairman accepted her "no" (and not mine) because she looks like a doll with her big charming eyes. I have efficient-looking chinky eyes.
At this point, I feel like I'm the employee in the Devil-wears-Prada without the perks (no free clothes and glam parties!)
I start calling printers I haven't heard of, plus the suggestions I get from my e-groups. A fellow photo-hobbyist who used to work for a printer kindly explains that it is not possible to find a "rush" offset printer, as color separation alone would take at least a day and I needed my brochures overnight. Digital printers can do the job but would charge an arm, a leg and maybe a whole head. He gives contact details for a digital printer. I call and almost cry when they agree to print my brochures. Unfortunately, their fee is a little higher than the cash that was given me.
I pack my stuff and start to leave the office at 8:30 PM. As I lock my drawer, my eyes fall on the yellow pages and I notice an ad saying that they print on demand. With my bag on my left hand, I dial their number with my right hand. They can do the job at a lower price as long as I bring a CD of the pdf file to their office at 9AM. On a Saturday morning.
I travel an hour to get home where hubby feeds me roasted duck and rice (he normally doesn't do this but he knows I was having a crappy day.) I want orange juice with vodka but we're out of orange juice (I remember that I was supposed to pass by the grocery before going home!) I go to bed instead, but jump out a few minutes later because I want to take a photo! I go back to bed a few minutes later and demand a hug. I fall asleep as soon as hubby wraps his arms around me.
6 hours later, I'm up and I'm preparing to go to the printer at 8:30 AM. (Of course, I have to post my photo first.) I am now feeling better but I am still worried about the printing of my brochures.
[to be continued - see next post!]